Long weekend of hiking, beach sunsets, and romantic stargazing!
Cherry Springs State Park -- sounds tasty, but does it sound beautiful? This is the darkest place east of the Mississippi. I didn't know that was a thing when I happened upon this park during a quick internet search for a romantic weekend getaway for me and a guy I was seeing.
Coudersport PA - small town, but has all the essentials.
We got take out from a local pizza place.
We spent the night in the no frills Mill Stream Inn, about 15-20 minutes from the stargazing field. Had we planned ahead, we might have been able to lock in a coveted space for camping at the park.
Make sure you bring your blankets, because even in August, stargazing in the middle of the night can get pretty chilly! You should also bring a flashlight with a red cover or with red light. That will help your eyes acclimate better to the dark and allow you to see more stars, even if you need to use the flashlight to walk to the bathroom a few hours in!
For our second day, we headed to Austin Dam Memorial Park. There are some good places to hike around the dam. A local who was using the memorial park for some long term rustic camping told us about a swimming hole a walk down the road and in the woods. If you like nature, I think you could spend the whole day walking, swimming, walking, and lounging around in the grass. The park itself with information on the dam (where the ruins are) has a bathroom. The rustic camping might not.
Feel like you still have time today after checking out Austin Dam, drive almost an hour to the Kinzua Bridge. This is a really interesting place to spend a few hours. You can do the skywalk on the bridge (free) and take some great pictures of the area. If you're a little more adventurous, you could take the hike down the hill below the bridge to the iron graveyard (that's what I call it, at least), and up the next hill. Some great views and a good workout!
Who cares if you get back late? If it's dark then you'll see the stars even better :).
For your last day, take the 2.5ish hour drive to Presque Isle, Erie. I like to see sunsets, and those over the beach at Lake Erie are remarkable. With 10+ beaches to choose from, you're sure to find some time in a place without lots of other people around you. Buy some dinner at Sara's before you hit up the beach. This place gets BUSY but the food is affordable, quick, and cheap! You won't regret it. The turkey burger is my favorite, with fries and a root beer.